Parents are no strangers to waiting. We wait for (and on) our children all the time. In fact, ask a child to “hurry up” and you will most definitely find yourself waiting even longer than you’d ever expect to wait on anything.
Recently, a mother of three named Maureen shared a story on this exact predicament — but with an interesting twist. It all happened one day while she was sitting in her car (one of the most glorious of all waiting places), waiting to pick her two sons up from practice. That’s when she decided she’d had enough. “Enough of waiting for her precious kids?” you may be asking yourself. “How could any parent not be waiting in excitement to be reunited with their child after leaving them for any period of time?”
Ha! Oh wait, sorry. Haaaaaaaa!
But it wasn’t that Maureen had gotten sick of waiting, it was the fact that both of her sons didn’t seem to understand the concept that she may have something better to do than simply wait for them all day.
As she recently wrote in a post on TODAY:
“I had been sitting in a hot August afternoon carpool for 27 minutes, watching — watching the post-practice huddle, watching other waiting moms, watching those other waiting moms’ kids trickling down the sidewalk to waiting cars, watching the clock, watching for my two sons to emerge from the locker room — so that I could GO.”
As Maureen goes on to explain, she was in a full-on panic because she still needed to pick up her other son. And that’s when this happened: “Finally, I saw my boys,” Maureen writes. ” … walking … slowly to the car … stopping to talk with a friend … and … I put my car into drive and pulled away.”
That’s right; she decided to teach her boys a valuable lesson in life — they aren’t the center of the universe; and Mom doesn’t have all day.
“Yep, I left my middle school sons at carpool, and it was the most intoxicating, liberating thing I had done since they were born,” Maureen continues. “For the record, I wasn’t abandoning them in a back alley somewhere. They were at the school field, it was broad daylight, and there were tons of people around.”
Any parent whose child is of a certain age has totally been in this mom’s shoes — more than a few times. You wait. And you wait. Then you wait some more.
Now, I am a little bit of a worrier myself, so sometimes when the wait gets to be too long, a certain amount of worry inevitably creeps in. What if they got hurt during practice? What if they got done early and someone kidnapped them while they were waiting outside? Fine, I am a lot of a worrier. Then, I see my little angel slowly walk out like he’s got all the time in the world, and all my worry turns to hot, seething mom rage.
“By my estimation, I had already spent years of my life sitting in carpool lines,” Maureen writes. “Years of my intelligent, college-educated life spent waiting for and watching other people doing things.”
In leaving, she hoped to teach her boys a few valuable life lessons. One of which was this: They should hustle.
“You should hustle for everyone — not just for the burly guys with the whistles,” she explains. “Don’t just hustle in front of the guy who decides if you play or not. Hustle because that is the kind of person you are all the time, and you will be successful in life.”
She also taught them to figure things out for themselves, something all kids need to learn early and often.
“They figured it out,” she explains. “They rallied, found an older kid who played a different sport but lived in our neighborhood, asked him for a ride home, and walked in the door, chastened but triumphant.”
But most importantly, in peeling out of the parking lot that day, she taught her sons a lesson all kids need to understand — that their parents have a life.
“It also reminds me that as much as I love them and love being their mom, I can’t let that be my whole life,” Maureen concludes.
Her story is a stellar reminder of just how important it is to lead by example. As she explains in her post, the moment actually happened years ago, but recently, as she sat with her two sons waiting on another kid, she watched as her son yelled out: “Dude, HUSTLE. Move it, my mom’s got stuff to do.”
Now that’s what I call a parenting WIN.